# Those bargain basement airplanes

Discussion in 'Classics' started by PTAirco, Aug 20, 2009.

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1. Aug 27, 2009

### PTAirco

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My choice will also depend on what the outcome of the current discussions are regarding the possible permanent extension of the E-LSA exemption for training aircraft. If they do that, the choices open up a little more, although I doubt if I find something useful among the current crop of registered E-LSA's. I think only about 70 airplanes actually did this before the deadline. And getting a new E-LSA kit such as a Zenith, will still cost about twice as much as I can possible stretch to.

I am looking seriously at Ercoupes and I have no idea why! They were never my kind of airplane. They have character, certainly. I looked at one here at Corona and I think I'll fit ok. Parking one outside is also feasable, especially if you have one with an all metal wing, or make up a set of simple wing/cockpit covers. They make good trainers, seem to be very easy to fly airplanes (maybe too easy for a trainer?). Boeing 707 pilots used to train on these to learn the landing-while-crabbing method of arriving in a crosswind. Although I would definitely get the rudder pedals.

It seems to me the bottom of the market has been reached a few months ago and things are slowly picking up again, judging by prices I see for classic airplanes these days. Time to get in there.

2. Aug 27, 2009

### Dan Thomas

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The rudders didn't have a lot of authority (they're too small and don't move much), but the pedals at least give your feet something to do. And you steer on the ground with them instead of the yoke. Slipping that airplane to lose altitude isn't necessary; just get it slow and it'll plummet. Short wings are like that. Don't get caught by getting too slow on final; the airplane won't stall but it will still hit the ground hard enough to kill you.

Older Ercoupes have had trouble with corrosion in the spar center section, IIRC. A good pre-buy by someone familiar with their quirks would be wise.

Dan

3. Aug 27, 2009

### bmcj

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I don't have a lot of experience with Ercoupes, but I seem to remember them being fairly anemic in climb. Can anyone confirm or refute that?

4. Aug 27, 2009

### Dan Thomas

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It would depend on the engine installed. The one I flew (a '67 Alon) had a C-90, and it outran the two Cessna 150s we had here at the time. It took off shorter and climbed better (though it ain't hard to beat a 150 there) and cruised faster, all on 10 less HP but with 150 lb lower gross. The hp/weight ratio was about the same, 16:1 for the 150 and 16.11:1 for the Ercoupe.

The 150 is a dismal airplane, in my view; I both instructed in them and maintained them. The Lyc-powered 172 makes much better economic and performance sense. The O-200 needed a lot of TLC where valves were concerned, and this extends to all small Continentals, including the C-90.

Older models had 75 or 85 hp. They might be a little anemic. Univair now holds the Type Certificate for the Ercoupe. See http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/MainFrame?OpenFrameSet

Dan

5. Aug 27, 2009

### bmcj

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Thanks Dan. I'm glad my mis-informed perception was wrong!

6. Aug 27, 2009

### Joe Fisher

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One thing about Ercoupe .The original 75hp airplane is certified under the light sport weight limit. The later models are to heavy and converting the 75hp to 85hp takes them over the limit.

7. Aug 29, 2009

### dirtstrip

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I think as more people look to the recreational experience and durability of taildraggers it is going to prove to be a popular and familiar platform for transitioning to tailwheel as time goes on. Can't beat the all aluminum design for outdoor storage for additional savings. At resale time, if she doesn't need mechanical work, resell as is or put on a paint job and make it attractive again. Paint sells.

8. Aug 30, 2009

### Midniteoyl

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Didnt someone here have a friend with a Ercoupe for sale? I seem to remember it in his sig. Seemed like a good plane for a good price. He could also give you the required dual time.

My memory for names sux....

9. Aug 30, 2009

### Midniteoyl

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10. Oct 10, 2009

### bob.shea

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What about the Tri pacers or colts, I can't tell you why but I really like the way the tri pacer looks, they are pretty cheep on barnstormers even the one with newer motors.

11. Oct 11, 2009

### Dan Thomas

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The Tri-Pacer outperforms the 172 in just about every way: takeoff, climb, cruise, and payload. It does glide a little steeper. I flew one for the first time a year ago and was very favorably impressed. I would imagine the Colt would make a 150 look sick.

But, as with any old tube and rag airplane, beware of rotten fabric, corroded structure, and so on. The 172 isn't immune to corrosion either, though, and some guys have bought some good-looking unairworthy junk. You want to spend money on a good pre-buy; it's like insurance.

Dan

12. Oct 12, 2009

### bmcj

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Tripacers are a good "get-you-there" utility aircraft. Distinctive in appearance but not particularly big inside or out. My biggest complaint is that, unless you are very short, your head sticks up between the wing roots and requires you to duck your head in order to look left or right for clearing your turns.

13. Oct 12, 2009

### Dana

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That's true of many planes of that era... my T-Craft was the same, and I'm only 5'8". Gets to be a habit, you don't even notice it after awhile.

If I was in the market for that kind of plane, though, I'd choose a Pacer over a Tri-Pacer, though.

-Dana

I think we should have a new Constitutional amendment: every year the State of the Union address should open with a reading of George Washington's farewell address, with emphasis on avoiding entangling alliances and not becoming involved in the territorial disputes of other nations.

14. Oct 31, 2009

### Canamryder

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I've had two S1-A cadets....and I'm 6'1" its like getting in and out of a luscombe.

I'd recommend the Champ though. My father is 6'4 and we both got in it no problem. I do know that there is a champ somewhere in alabama or mississippi for $10k, but the fuselage has be fiberglassed with the Razorback process. 15. Oct 31, 2009 ### PTAirco ### PTAirco #### Well-Known Member Joined: Sep 21, 2003 Messages: 3,501 Likes Received: 1,013 Location: Corona CA I am narrowing things down to a Champ with more than 65 hp - an 85 hp would be nice and they do appear for sale from time to time. As far as I know, converting a 65 Continental to an 85 is not that difficult - has anyone had experience with this? Isn't it mainly a matter of compression ratio, drilled connecting rods and an increase in allowable RPM? I suspect there may be more to it , but my knowledge of engines is mostly confined to those that are round, straight, very very old and odd. 16. Oct 31, 2009 ### Dan Thomas ### Dan Thomas #### Well-Known Member Joined: Sep 18, 2008 Messages: 5,012 Likes Received: 2,177 You'd need an STC to change the engine model on a certified airplane. They exist for the Champs, and you'd have to buy the STC paperwork and do the conversion exactly as laid out. An A-65 is not nearly the same as a C-85. They don't even have the same type certificate number. The bore is considerably larger, and while the stroke is the same, the crank isn't. The compression ratio is the same. The C-series has an accessory case that takes a starter and generator; the A-series doesn't. Basically, if you want 85 hp, you buy a C-85. The A-65 was modified to get the A-75, and then higher compression pistons were installed to get 80 hp, which was as far as that model could go. The Champ 7AC had 65 hp. The 7EC had 90 hp, a good airplane. The 7FC was an EC with tricycle gear. Ugh. They're all right here: http://www.airweb.faa.gov/regulator...6d4b18625765d00692b93/$FILE/A-759 Rev. 72.pdf

Now, if I had a Champ, I'd be tempted to reregister it in the owner-maintenance category (Canadian) and hang a Gipsy Major on it. Now that's an airplane engine, and sounds and shakes like one. I towed gliders with an Auster VI 30 years ago and loved it. My ears are still ringing...

Dan

17. Oct 31, 2009

### bmcj

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True, the Champ is a good flying plane and has lots of room inside. Hard to go wrong with a Champ.

18. Nov 6, 2010

### Solo

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Let's not forget that any pilot is only one medical away from being a Sport Pilot.

19. Nov 6, 2010

### TFF

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I dont know about the Champ engine STCs specifically, but upping the HP usually allows more gross carried, but that can kill the Light Sport deal down the road if the new gross is higher than LSA legal, as the FAA will not allowed it to be returned to the old specs and be LSA. Most of the Ercoupes were legal LSA, but were converted to the later spec for more gross, when LSA was not even a dream. Even if modified back, it cant be LSA by regulations. If LSA is in your future, you want it to stay stock to its type certificate.

20. Dec 10, 2010

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